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Country diary: in Richard I's day this field was a hi-tech hub

Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire Grass-covered earthworks are all that remain of an abbey that built one of England's first windmillsPatches of snow persist in the most sheltered spots alongside Harpers Brook, the pasture dense with a complexity of mounds and earthworks that hints at a significant history. The sloping field by the grey limestone edifices of Pipewell Hall is crowned with a variety of trees, some fairly ancient, and a medley of a dozen horses and ponies come over to say hello; each in turn blowing gusts of warm breath on to the back of my hand, some lingering to gently nuzzle or allow a brief stroke.A Cistercian community, St Mary de Divisis Abbey, was established here in 1143. The monastery and cloisters were surrounded by many facilities - an infirmary, a bakery, a granary, a brewhouse, a quarry, a cemetery, a watermill, carp ponds and refuse pits. A little further to the west the community built one of the first English windmills. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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